Teresa Tarkalson

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Teresa and I have had a successful occupational safety and health consulting business for 26 years. I received my Bachelor degree in Occupational Safety and Health from MT TECH in Butte. I have a beautiful family and home in Butte. MT. I am very proud of all the hard work I have done to have this wonderful life.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

One lesson I have learned in my career, is that clients really do appreciate and connect to your business when you are “down to earth” and approach them all with a positive-giving personality. They always come back for repeat business. I have had clients/companies that have stuck with us for 20 plus years!

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

My most favorite mistake was in the very beginning. I was so worried about perfecting product and services for my clients, that I did not even think about the management of EMPLOYEES. That turned out to be the biggest stress of running my business.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

Projecting 10 years ahead, the training that my company does, will be done a lot more virtual, instead of in-person. I see great opportunity in this for a couple reasons: We can reach many more businesses/clients that need the training, but cannot travel to our location. It would also eliminate time and travel expenses for the thousands of students that come to our classes every year. Also, eliminates our Trainers travel time, and time away from home and family.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

One of the bad recommendations that we hear back from our clients, is that prior classes that they had taken from other businesses, overused videos during the class. They felt that they did not learn as much and keep focus as when a live instructor relayed the information.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

I have become better at saying NO to those clients and students who want a discount, or want to take our class for free. When you first start out, you want to be well liked, and gain as much business as possible. You have to realize that you cannot give your hard work, effort, and investment away for free. You need to thrive and make it. Stick to your guns, it must be the same price for everyone.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

One book I would recommend reading and returning to often is the good ole Bible. It has a lot of great answers and comfort as you are going through tough times, and you will have them!

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

The advice I would give a young college graduate is-YOU have worked hard and earned a solid foundation. Now, go with it, test the water’s, see what you can do. Don’t be scared to jump into something big. If you fail, so what, you started from scratch and made it. You can always start from that again and survive into your next adventure.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

My favorite quote is “It is what it is, it will all work out fine.”